US urges Turkey to end drilling plans in eastern Mediterranean: report

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The United States has called on Turkey to halt its plans to conduct seismic research in Greece’s territorial waters and avoid steps that escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, a US Department of State spokesperson told Sputnik, according to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.

“The United States is aware that Turkey has issued a NAVTEX for research in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“We urge Turkish authorities to halt any plans for operations and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region.”

Turkey and Greece are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources, brought into sharper focus by attempts of EU member Cyprus to also explore for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean amid strong Turkish objections.

A navigational advisory known as a NAVTEX was issued by Turkey’s navy on Tuesday for seismic survey work in an area apparently south of Turkey’s Antalya and lying between Cyprus and Crete. The advisory is in effect until Aug. 20.

Turkey says it is within its sovereign rights to explore for resources in areas it considers its continental shelf, or within self-proclaimed maritime boundaries.

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